St John Ainsdale is one of the churches taking part in the ‘Three Steps to Christenings’ pilot. Here is how focusing on the welcome offered to families has made a huge difference to their church growth
The ‘Three Steps to Christenings’ initiative is designed to help parishes look at what they can do around baptism and enable families to feel part of the congregation. New resources and practises designed by the Diocese of Liverpool including a welcome basket with child friendly additions such as ‘Charlie the Caterpillar’ have been trailed by the churches in the pilot with the aims of inspiring, equipping and connecting both parishes and baptism families.
Sue Mitchell Children & Families’, Missioner explains “The long term aim is to create good, sustainable baptism practices throughout the Diocese. In turn, we will be enabling churches to build good relationships with families and develop relevant groups and congregations to invite them back to.”
Rev Graham Birch and Linda Davies baptism team member at St John Ainsdale have seen first-hand how focusing on the welcome offered to families has made a huge difference to their church growth, seeing the demand for their Baptism service double. “Baptism has had to go to twice a month now, and the church family is becoming more involved. We have written an article in the magazine on Charlie the Caterpillar to inform the congregation.”
“We had four Baptisms at our service yesterday - all children of three sisters whom I had taught at school and Sunday school. Archdeacon Pete attended to license our new reader. We were singing the praises of Three Steps to Christenings as were the families. Rev Graham used Charlie the caterpillar logo on screen and in his talk .It really is having an amazing effect!”
Feedback from some of the families who celebrated their child’s Baptism at St John Ainsdale:
“We loved having our sons baptised at St John's. Everyone went out of their way to make the day interesting for the children and to make us feel welcomed into the church! Having both Linda and Rev Graham come to our home in the weeks before the baptism made the day that extra bit special as we then knew them so well by the day of the baptism. Linda wrote the most wonderful and personalised speech for us which she read out during the Baptism. Our family feels very grateful for the wonderful community we have found at St John's. The day after the Baptism our son William said “I wish it was my Baptism again! “So he definitely enjoyed it!"
“It was lovely to have Emma’s christening in the new church building, everyone said how lovely the service was. All the children had a lovely time dancing at the front. Thank you to everyone who helped organise it!”
“Baby Cole was Baptised we asked his sister Skye about the service She enjoyed the service, the music group played her favourite song. We asked her about her day, she said I am happy that Cole got christened because now he is in Gods family”
“Myles said he like the water on his head because it was special.”